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2012 Performance Update: Do Our Investment Ideas Generate Alpha? Other Ways We Measure our Performance

December 31st, 2012

First and foremost we wanted to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year and thank you for your continued interest in our research.  While there was plenty to be pleased about from a performance...

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MCRS: Analyst Day Fails to Address Our Concerns

December 13th, 2012

Coming into MCRS’s first “Investor Day” in over 13 years, we thought the burden of proof very much was on management to articulate why the proliferation of mobile POS solutions, mobile ordering, and cloud based iOS systems would not negatively impact the company’s...

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MCRS: How MCRS Really Makes Money and Why It Should Alarm Investors in the New Age of mPOS and iOS POS Solutions

December 12th, 2012

It’s been nearly four months since we first introduced MCRS as a short idea.  Since that time the stock has declined (-13%) compared to a 1% gain for the S&P 500 over the same period.  As so often is...

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WWE: Evaluating Positive Developments from the “Core” and Potential Network Economics

November 15th, 2012

It seems like only 5-6 months ago we were lamenting a similar dynamic surrounding WWE shares.  Here we are again, with WWE shares plumbing decade lows even though there are ample signs that the company’s core product continues...

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XOXO: After Another Quarter of EPS Upside and Strong FCF Generation, We Have to Ask: Where is the Love (from Investors)?

November 9th, 2012

Heading into XOXO’s 3Q12 earnings release we thought we knew the following: The Knot and the Bump franchises remained incredibly strong from a consumer engagement perspective Investors had...

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THQI: They Just Couldn’t Thread the Needle

November 6th, 2012

At no point over the past 3-years have we felt that we were in denial about the issues that THQI faced in trying to turn the company’s earnings prospects around.  We were intimately aware of the company’s disproportionate exposures to the very segments of the video game...

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Z: Sometimes It’s Important to Remember These Guys are “Empire Builders”…

November 6th, 2012

If you told us heading into the earnings print that Zillow would have added more than 4,000 premier agent subscribers in the third quarter, we almost certainly would have expected Zillow shares to trade higher.  Obviously that has not...

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OPEN: After Another Ho-Hum Quarter, the Six Lingering Questions We’re Thinking About

November 2nd, 2012

Heading into the company’s 3Q12 earnings release, OPEN shares had rallied 31.8% over the past 3-months compared to a meager 3.4% gain for the Nasdaq.  Clearly investor enthusiasm for OPEN shares continued to increase over the past...

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OPEN: Expecting 3Q12 Results to Add Further Credence to Our Maturation/Competition Thesis

November 1st, 2012

We had to laugh.  Approximately two weeks ago, rumors started to surface that YHOO under the stewardship of Marissa Mayer, might consider an acquisition of OPEN.  Outside of combining one high margin, mature business facing...

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COCO: The Games Continue…. The Three Most Important Questions for COCO Stakeholders Now

October 31st, 2012

In some respects, given all that has happened over the past 2-3 years in the for-profit postsecondary education space it’s hard to imagine that COCO is still hanging around.  After all, in an era when brand, price, and return...

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MCRS: Growth…… Is…… Slowing

October 26th, 2012

It’s hard to put our finger on it as to what element of MCRS’s 1Q13 earnings results added further validation to our short thesis, but there are more than a few signs there.  In our view, there were four or five items in the company’s 1Q13 results that should be viewed as...

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ESI: After The Worst Fall Term Enrollment Intake in ESI’s History, It’s Clear the Emperor Has No Clothes, Taking...

October 25th, 2012

Losing Altitude and Gaining Speed…..At the simplest level, here are the five things that you need to know about ESI following the company’s 3Q12 earnings release and fall term enrollment...

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MCRS: The Burden of Proof Has Shifted

October 24th, 2012

With one simple statement, the management of Urban Outfitters changed the entire perception surrounding the sustainability of incumbent providers of PC based POS software solutions to restaurants and retailers.  On September 27th at the Urban Outfitters investor day, the...

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Z: A Closer Look at the Rental Property Marketplace – Raising Estimates and Price Objective to $50

October 22nd, 2012

In the housing depression over the past five years, there has been one segment of the marketplace that has performed quite well – rentals. Historically, the rental property market has been largely comprised of...

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BGG/TTC: Housing, Operating Efficiency, and FCF Improvements Indicate BGG Might Finally Flex Its Earnings Muscles

October 18th, 2012

The Spring/Summer 2012 selling season will not be remembered fondly by participants in the outdoor power equipment marketplace.  Severe drought through much of the US and ongoing economic in weakness led...

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For-Profit EDU: Checks with Privately Held Institutions Suggest We’re On the Cusp of Yet Another Round of Meaningful...

October 15th, 2012

On Tuesday, October 16th APOL will kick-start the earnings season in the for-profit postsecondary education sector.  Investor expectations for the company’s results, particularly surrounding new...

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ESI: More Correspondence with the SEC, but It’s not related to the Off-Balance Sheet Treatment of PEAKS

September 25th, 2012

More Correspondence with the SEC….We just wanted to flag a round of correspondence between ESI and the SEC that occurred in July and August of this year.  The letters were just released through the SEC’s...

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COCO: Another Log on the “Regulatory Fire”

September 18th, 2012

“The investment thesis for us is pretty straightforward, as I said earlier, career-oriented, that's a big deal to us. I mean, we're teaching students how to become prepared for their first job. Not only do we teach them and get them through the process, we also spend a...

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MCRS: “Square”ly in the Scope of the Mobile Payments and iOS Revolutions, Time to Get Short

August 23rd, 2012

“I just charge additional license fees for these iPad implementations, so it actually drives business”Peter Rodgers, EVP Investor Relations and Business Development MICROS Systems, Inc.That’s it, nothing to see here....

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COCO: All Available Levers Pulled, The Focus Should Increasingly Turn to COCO’s Liquidity and Leverage

August 20th, 2012

After gapping down earlier in the morning, COCO shares rallied over the course of the day to end down only 1% following 4Q12 results and management commentary that should create significant cause for concern among...

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BGG/TTC: Drought Aside, Earnings Visibility and FCF Prospects Are Improving Rapidly for BGG

August 9th, 2012

BGG shares traded off modestly today following 4Q12 results and initial FY13 guidance that were both below consensus expectations.  Two factors weighed on the company’s 2Q12 and significantly dampened the company’s FY13...

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Z: All About the Metrics

August 8th, 2012

Zillow shares traded off sharply after hours yesterday following earnings results that were good, but perhaps not strong enough relative to “whisper numbers”.  Additionally, the company filed a shelf offering which included the option for significant stock holders to sell as much as 3.6MM...

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THQI: Waiting on Darksiders…

August 7th, 2012

Realistically THQI’s 1Q13 results were more or less a side show.  The company did not release any new games in the quarter, so the focus of the earnings call was primarily on THQI’s release slate and efforts to reposition itself in the marketplace.  In one week, THQI will release...

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WPO: The Song Remains the Same, Lowering Estimates to Reflect Weakening Prospects for Kaplan

August 3rd, 2012

In many respects, WPO’s 2Q12 earnings results represent a complete validation of our short thesis on the stock.  At a time when it appears most bulls on the stock own it based on some theoretical breakup value, two...

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OPEN: Another OPEX Driven Beat Aside, the Signposts of Growth Maturation and Competitive Pressures Continue to Pile Up

August 3rd, 2012

With OPEN shares down 24% in the past month and now trading at what some might think is an attractive 18.7x consensus EPS for 2013 we shouldn’t be completely surprised by the strength in the stock...

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WWE: Our Revised Estimates, The Catalysts for WWE for the Next 6-Months

August 2nd, 2012

WWE’s 2Q12 results were more or less inline with expectations.  Based on the strong buy rate for Wrestlemania 28 and subsequent PPV events, it’s clear that WWE’s creative cycle has turned a corner.  Over time we expect this to lead to...

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WWE: Positive Developments Continue to Be Overlooked in Light of the Ongoing Uncertainty Surrounding the WWE Network

August 1st, 2012

It has been a grueling slog for WWE shareholders over the past 6-9 months.  Over the past 3-4 months the company crushed expectations for 1Q12, delivered the highest selling Wrestlemania in history,...

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ESI: Where Did the Cash Go? ESI’s Leverage Looms Large as Prospective FCF Generation Dwindles, Reducing Target to $30

July 26th, 2012

Fundamentals Are Breaking Down…. And Liquidity Now Becomes a Real ConcernFor some the 2Q12 earnings season will be remembered as the quarter in which the publicly traded for-profit postsecondary...

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For-Profit EDU: Checks with Privately Held Institutions Suggest Trends Are Not Getting Better; Be Wary of the 150%...

July 24th, 2012

Make no mistake, as we navigate earnings season in the for-profit education space over the next 2-3 weeks, the poor operating results from DeVry will look like an accurate gauge of the operating...

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For-Profit EDU: The CFPB Frames the Private Student Lending Industry

July 20th, 2012

Early this morning, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its long awaited report on the Private Student Loan (PSL) industry.  The report provides a broad overview of the characteristics of the private student loan market for the...

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Current Ideas

AYI

SHORT

$129

RON.TO

SHORT

$9

BIG

SHORT

$28

ESI

SHORT

$0

DV

SHORT

$15

BGG

PAIR - LONG BGG/SHORT TTC

25%

TTC

PAIR - LONG BGG/SHORT TTC

25%

Z

SHORT

$14.00

NA.TO

SHORT

$22

HCG.TO

SHORT

$20

ING.PA

SHORT

$35

ZU

SHORT

$15

TRLA

SHORT

$20

MCRS

SHORT

$31

APOL

SHORT

$35

OPEN

SHORT

$30

BCO

LONG

$35

WWE

LONG

$25

KNL

PAIR - LONG KNL/SHORT MLHR

25%

XOXO

LONG

$20

CSGP

SHORT

$100

GCA

LONG

$8

IPSU

LONG

$20

MLHR

SHORT

$22

ARC

LONG

$12.50

LOOP

PAIR - LONG CSGP/SHORT LOOP

40%

THQI

LONG

$35

WPO

SHORT

$275

COCO

SHORT

$0

HNI

SIG

RGR